Teen charged in North End St. Paul homicide

A 17-year-old boy has been charged in connection to the fatal shooting of another 17-year-old in St. Paul’s North End neighborhood last week.

The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office said the 17-year-old is charged with one count of second-degree murder in Elijah Watson’s death.

According to an affidavit, a woman who lives at a home on Jessamine Street in St. Paul called 911 at 1:50 p.m. on Dec. 14 to report an unknown boy banging on her door, trying to get in. The woman said she thought the boy had been shot in the head due to how he was bleeding. The boy then fell toward the street and collapsed.

When officers and paramedics arrived, the boy was covered in blood and was declared dead. He was later identified as Watson.

The woman told officers she had her grandchildren at her home for distance learning when she heard the banging on her door. The affidavit says the woman was crying, as were her grandchildren, and said she called 911 after seeing Watson because she was scared.

Two other witnesses who called 911 for the shooting reported seeing males running down the street after the shooting, adding that the males got into a black car.

17-year-old arrested in relation to teenager’s murder in St. Paul

Another person called 911 about suspicious activity taking place on Sherburne Street a short time later, saying a male was wiping down a vehicle parked on the street before he got picked up by someone in a car that sped away. Police arrived and found a Pontiac G6 with blood on the door and window. They also determined it had been stolen and was associated with the murder on Jessamine Street.

According to the affidavit, officers looked on the victim’s phone and found he’d taken a picture an hour before the shooting. The picture showed the victim in a car with three other teenagers, including the 17-year-old now charged in Watson’s death.

Police were able to obtain video from the neighborhood that showed Watson getting out of the Pontiac and collapsing on Jessamine Street as the Pontiac sped away.

The following day, officers received a report of a carjacking on Colorado Street in St. Paul and tracked the vehicle stolen in the carjacking to the 17-year-old suspect’s home. The vehicle left at the scene of the carjacking was determined to be the one the 17-year-old left in after wiping down the Pontiac after the shooting on Jessamine Street.

The affidavit states officers arrested a 16-year-old on an unrelated charge on Dec. 15, and the teen admitted he was with Watson, the suspect 17-year-old suspect and a 15-year-old before Watson was shot. The 16-year-old told police Watson was driving the Pontiac when he handed the 17-year-old suspect a gun. The 17-year-old then refused to return the gun and when Watson reached to grab it from him, the 17-year-old fired a shot, hitting Watson in the face. The 16-year-old said Watson then panicked and got out of the vehicle, and the other two teens told the 16-year-old to drive away, which he did.

Asked if the 17-year-old meant to shoot Watson, the 16-year-old said, "Yeah, he pulled it intentionally," the affidavit states.

Police executed a search warrant at the 17-year-old’s home on Dec. 15. The affidavit states a .40 caliber handgun and ammunition was found in the teen’s bedroom but he was gone. The next day, authorities found the 17-year-old had posted a picture of Facebook two hours after Watson’s death with the 17-year-old holding the gun that was seized at his home. It was determined that gun was used in Watson’s death.

Police found and arrested the 17-year-old on Dec. 16.

In an interview with investigators, the 17-year-old told police it was an accident and he didn’t know there was a round in the chamber. He also denied he and Watson were fighting over the gun before it went off.

The 15-year-old later confirmed what the 16-year-old had told police, saying the 17-year-old intentionally shot Watson after arguing over the gun.

The 17-year-old is expected to make his first court appearance Monday afternoon.